71% of sports industry professionals see fan engagement as important to their organisation, 5% say it’s not important at all

Press release for the findings of "The State of Sports Fan Engagement 2023", report produced by iSportConnect in partnership with Choicely. Published April 4, 2023.

Fan engagement has become widely accepted among sports organisations. 71% of professionals working for sports clubs, federations, NGBs or tournaments see it as important to achieving the goals of the organisation. Still, 5% of the respondents say it’s not a priority for them, indicating a concerning lack of interest in fans.

These are some of the key results from the ‘The State of Sports Fan Engagement in 2023”’ study made by iSportConnect in partnership with Choicely. The data for the study was collected via an online survey during February 2023. The data has been collected into a report that has been partly written using ChatGPT.

289 sports professionals responded to the survey. 40% of them were working in sports organisations involving athletes (such as sports clubs, federations, NGBs, and tournaments) and the rest were from business services catering to the sports industry. By seniority, 83% of the respondents were at least middle or senior managers.

The survey was distributed through the digital channels and events of iSportConnect and Choicely.

“Fan engagement has been a trending topic in the sports industry for at least the last decade. We wanted to find more about how sports professionals see the importance and goals of fan engagement right now, as well as how they see its future in terms of competencies and technologies.”, says David Fowler, the Managing Director of iSportConnect’s Advisory team.

Technology and data are key enablers of fan engagement

All respondents were asked about the technologies and capabilities that shape up the industry in the future. The use of data was seen as key in the industry, now and in the future.

Data analytics and market research were tied the for first place, getting selected as the most important skills and capabilities that enable organisations to deliver on their fan engagement goals. Both were named by 25% of the respondents, with service providers included.

A total of 43% see AI as the most revolutionary technology in fan engagement in the next 3–5 years, whether it’s analysing and acting on data with AI (30%) or using AI to generate novel content (15%).

“Typically data and research are underutilised in organisations. The study shows it applies to sports businesses as well. The use of AI will only accelerate, also in the sports business and in the way organisations engage with fans.”, said Heikki Rotko, Executive Chairman of Choicely.

Social media, streaming platforms and mobile apps dominate usage

Fan engagement is usually focused on digital channels and platforms. When asked about what digital platforms their fans use the most, clearly the most popular answer was social media platforms, followed by OTT streaming platforms and mobile apps.

“Practically everyone uses at least one social media platform, and streaming makes absolute sense in sports. According to other studies people spend up to 4,5 hours a day on mobile apps. This includes social media apps, but also other types of apps such as fan engagement apps in the sports context.” added Rotko.

“We believe sports businesses will increasingly adopt their own apps, as they have become easier and faster to deploy for organisations of all sizes.”

A wide range of options get backing in questions about fan engagement goals and platforms.

“Fan engagement is a multichannel effort”, said Rotko.

The study

You will find the report findings on this page.

Go to report findings

About the publishers

iSportConnect is the world's largest private network of sport business executives. provides opportunities for online business networking, news, market data analysis, discussions and opinions, listings of events, and jobs.

Choicely provides businesses with mobile apps built without coding. With Choicely’s mobile app builder, anyone can build and maintain an app, cutting development costs and enabling agile changes to the app. Choicely is based in Finland and Switzerland and currently serves businesses across over 40 countries. Sports is among Choicely’s key industries, with customers like Arsenal Fan TV, International Judo Federation, and Finnish Gymnastics Association in the roster. 

More information


David Fowler
Managing Director, Advisory services
[email protected]
+31 (0) 62 189 1317

Heikki Rotko
Executive Chairman
[email protected]
+41 78 250 06 27

Press kit

Find the press kit here

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